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Parents Pitch In To Help School Get Its Own Library

The Gilbert Republic/Arizona (Newspaper) - 10/9/2009 by Emily Gersema
Gilbert Arts Academy families spent their summer vacation gathering thousands of donated books across the Valley to create a library for the charter grade school of about 180 students at Elliot and Lindsey roads.

Hero dad

Principal Nanette Allen credited the effort to parents, but especially to one father, Michael Zenner, who came up with the idea last spring.
Zenner said in an e-mail to Allen: "A library is what we need and a library we shall have."

Zenner than launched an effort that involved his wife Jackie Zenner, plus parents such as Michelle Lyon, Salli Holden and Laura LaGreca, to round up books, DVDs, VHS tapes and other items to fill the shelves.

How they did it

Zenner utilized Craigslist to issue a public plea for books. He also tapped a book trading site called paperbackswap.com to collect and trade books to find used copies of storybooks and reference books, such as encyclopedias, which were age-appropriate for the academy's students in grades preschool to sixth.

Lyon, a member of the academy's parent-teacher organization, sorted and cataloged the nearly 5,000 books that the school collected.Parents decorated an old music room, bought inexpensive shelves from IKEA and pieced together the library.

Gilbert Mayor John Lewis attended the library's ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this week.